Work on Monday: I Can’t C the First Letter of Clarity… by Eddie Rehm

Just a few days remain until Patchogue painter, Dan’s Papers cover artist and frequent East End exhibitor Eddie Rehm reveals his latest installation at Fountain NYC. To mark the occasion, Work on Monday looks at his most recent install, “I Can’t C the First Letter of Clarity, See,” from the LA Art Show at the Los Angeles Convention Center in January.

I Can’t C the First Letter of Clarity, See
Eddie Rehm (b. 1981)
Mixed media installation
Approximately 8 x 20 feet, 2013

Never again to be collected and arranged in quite the same way, as “I Can’t C the First Letter of Clarity, See,” Rehm’s assembled works—each sold separately—present something maddening, confused, angry and bordering on dangerous. He festoons the small L.A. gallery space with dozens of canvases, battered works on paper and found objects (doll heads, a toilet and plastic mannequin parts among them) all covered in aggressive brushstrokes and scrawled words.

Much like H.R.’s frenetic wailing on Bad Brains’ seminal punk song “Big Takeover,” which repeats endlessly on Rehm’s website, the artist’s work feels like that of a man unhinged. And while many artists try hard to appear similarly deranged, Rehm lacks the posture, pomp and pretense of his would-be counterparts.

For all its drama and use of scribbled phrases, like “the Mural of the Times” and “Beautifuckation of America,” Rehm’s art is absolutely earnest and without irony. He channels the anger and violence so many young men feel—especially those who know little of privilege and comfort—and then lets that chaos pour forth and manifest deliberately, without hesitation.

His culmination of this angst and madness feels like a widening gyre, sucking in all who approach it.

“I Can’t C the First Letter of Clarity, See” shows Rehm as a true L’Enfant Terrible in a sea of young men wearing expensive Rimbaud and Basquiat t-shirts. Yet for all his work conveys, the artist is a disarming, teddy bear of a man, who says making art is his therapy. Clearly, he has become quite deft at exorcising his demons, ripping them out of his core and laying them bare for all of us to enjoy.

Eddie Rehm will present his installation “Incoherent Chaotic Thoughts of an Unorganized Therapeutic Mental Reimbursement of Closure” at the Fountain Art Fair this weekend. He is exhibiting at the Gloria Delson Contemporary Arts (gdcagallery.com) booth, 69th Regiment Armory, Lexington Avenue and 26th Street in Manhattan from March 7–9. Visit eddierehm.com to learn more (and hear some killer Bad Brains music).

Work on Monday is a weekly look at one piece of art related to the East End, usually by a Hamptons or North Fork artist, living or dead, created in any kind of media. Join the conversation by posting your thoughts in the comments below and email suggestions for a future Work on Monday here.

Eddie Rehm "I Can’t C the First Letter of Clarity, See" (Detail)

Eddie Rehm “I Can’t C the First Letter of Clarity, See” (Detail), Photo: Eric Reid

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